Textiles are an integral part of our lives. Lounge sets and cushions, tea towels and bath towels, rugs, carpets and curtains - all made by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, or pressing fibers together. Of course we also wear clothes made from a myriad of different fabrics and most of them touch some part of our skin. Bedding is another material we expose our body frequently. We toss and turn, sweat and snore on our sheets, pillow and duvets.
The question is how much of an impact does the fiber our bedding is made from have to our health?
Up until the 20th century textiles were made from natural fibres derived from plant (coconut fibre, hemp, pulpwood), animal (goat hair, llama wool) and mineral (metal and glass fibre) sources. In the last hundred years these were largely supplemented by artificial fibres made from petroleum.
You can get bedding made from natural latex, cotton, wool, silk and buckwheat that is classified as organic by leading certification bodies. Organic farmers spend a lot of time and resources working with enforcement bodies to ensure environmental sustainability and purity of products. Synthetic and toxic doused textiles are quick and easy to produce. This is why, for the short term, until more people start buying organic textile like bedding, the price tag is a little higher.
Natural or man made, if a material has been heavily processed i.e. dyed using chemicals, they are not only eco-unfriendly, they can intensify symptoms of existing health issues. Sheets made from organic fibre, without dyes or bleaches are softer so eczema sufferers find relief in a gentler fabric. Natural fibres are more comfortable and breathe easier than synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon, so anyone who sweats a lot during dream time is likely to find a better, dryer nights sleep on cotton sheets. There have also been reports that organic fibres better protect against dust mite allergens, so are healthier for allergy and asthma sufferers.